ENT Specialist: What They Do and When to See One

You wake up in the morning and can’t breathe through your nostrils. Then, a familiar itch begins to plague your ears. You know right away that you’re coming down with an allergy-related sinus infection — a chronic issue that only ENT specialist can help you to finally overcome.

However, this isn’t the only reason to see some ENT specialists. These specialty doctors are trained to help with various other ear, nose and throat-related issues, too. Here’s a rundown of what exactly an ENT doctor does and when you should see one.

Let’s get started!

ENT Specialist Can Help with Allergies

Allergies are one of the biggest reasons to see an ENT doctor. An ENT specialist can certainly prescribe drugs for your allergy issues, but he or she can also determine why you’re struggling with allergies in the first place.

In fact, ENT doctors, such as those at Eastside ENT Specialists, can also provide immunotherapy, such as sublingual immunotherapy, to help you to build up the tolerance to allergic reaction-causing substances that you need to decrease your troublesome symptoms.

  1. Sinus and Nasal Problems

With allergy problems oftentimes come nasal congestion. Fortunately, an ENT doctor can treat your congestion and determine whether the cause is truly allergies or a structural problem with your nose — for instance, a deviated septum.

Sinus infections, which are also associated with allergies, may lead to nasal congestion as well.

ENT specialists can tackle this issue, known as chronic rhinosinusitis, and even fungal sinusitis.

  1. Ear-Related Issues

Ear infections oftentimes stem from allergies and sinus issues. ENT doctors can treat these annoying infections and also get rid of objects or impacted wax from your ear.

If you’re experiencing ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, an ENT doctor can help with that, too. In addition, if you’re starting to lose your hearing, your ENT physician can work with an audiologist to figure out the cause of your hearing loss and determine the most appropriate treatment option for your situation.

Yet another reason to see an ENT doctor is if you are struggling with a balance disorder — a sign that something may be wrong with the tiny inner-ear structures that control your balance.

An ENT doctor can help you to figure out why you’re feeling dizzy and get you the relief you need.

  1. Speech-Related Issues

If you’re struggling with a voice disorder, swallowing issue or speech difficulty stemming from a stroke or neck cancer, for example, you may benefit immensely from seeing an ENT specialist.

The specialist can work with a speech-language pathologist in diagnosing and treating these issues.

On top of this, your specialist can repair your larynx, or your voice box, in addition to detecting cancers of the mouth, head, and throat.

  1. Sleep Disorders

Having trouble getting undisrupted sleep at night due to breathing issues rather than your typical insomnia struggles? You may have sleep apnea, a possibly dangerous condition resulting from restricted airways.

An ENT specialist might prescribe for you a sleep study so that you can find out what the best treatment option may be for you.

  1. Surgeries

ENT specialists are also trained to perform surgeries, including the following:

  • Tonsil removal
  • Plastic surgery, including nose jobs, deviated septum surgery, surgeries to fix drooping eyelids, or reconstructive surgery after skin cancer has been removed
  • Balloon sinuplasty — a sinus surgery designed to open up blocked or narrow sinus passages
  • Removal of nasal polyps
  • Removal of tumors of the thyroid gland, head, and neck.

Whether your ear, nose or throat issues stem from deformities or trauma, the right specialist can help you to look and feel great in no time.

Signs You Need to See an ENT

You need to see an ENT specialist right away if you have experienced any of the following symptoms:

  1. Long-Term Hoarseness

If you’ve felt hoarse for over six weeks, you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux. This issue may lead to chronic coughing and other problems if you don’t get it treated.

Alternatively, you may have a lesion on your vocal cords or even cancer in the larynx area.

  1. Constant Ear Infections

An occasional infection of the ear is not a major red flag, but recurrent infections are. An ENT doctor can determine whether your infections are the result of allergies, excess mucus, sinus infections, smoking or infected adenoids.

Throat cancer may also lead to ear infections — another problem worth ruling out with an ENT doctor’s help.

  1. Hearing Loss

Although hearing loss can certainly occur as you age, this is not always true.

An ENT doctor can run some hearing tests and examine your ears to see if a bigger problem may be causing your hearing issues.

  1. Constant Throat Infections

If your throat is chronically sore, this isn’t normal. Your immune system may be weak, or strep may be the culprit.

Your ENT specialist can investigate the cause of the problem and provide the solution you need to finally experience throat pain relief.

  1. Neck-Area Lump

If your neck has a lump that won’t disappear after a couple of weeks, you need to see an ENT doctor right away.

A lump might indicate cancer of the blood, thyroid, mouth or throat. Although this oftentimes isn’t the case, it’s smart to take a proactive approach to your health.

ENT Training

ENT specialists are usually required to complete as many as 15 years’ worth of training to receive otolaryngology board certification.

These years of training include time spent at an undergraduate school, in medical school, and in post-graduate training.

ENT doctors can choose to specialize in a number of areas, ranging from pediatric ENT to thyroid disorders and even cancer of the neck and head.

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